Morning Digest: June 3, 2014

Pascrell on post-Paterson mayoral race fallout in Passaic County: “I have no challengers”

CLIFFSIDE PARK – U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-9) came to the Bergen County borough of Cliffside Park on Monday to talk about legislation he is backing to fix New Jersey’s crumbling infrastructure, backed by his Congressional colleague, U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ). 

After Pascrell’s crushing victory over former U.S. Rep. Steve Rothman (D-9) in the June 2012 Democratic primary, a fight forced by Congressional redistricting, the former Paterson mayor had an air of invincibility after a torrent of votes drowned his opponent, Paterson Great Falls-style, on primary day.

But following the May 13 Paterson municipal election, in which Pascrell’s preferred mayoral candidate, Andre Sayegh, was defeated by Joey Torres, some observers of the Passaic County political scene wondered if it was Pascrell who had now gone over the falls in a barrel.  (Bonamo/PolitickerNJ)

Pascrell on post-Paterson mayoral race fallout in Passaic County: “I have no challengers” | Politicker NJ







CD12, 2017 gubernatorial, Union County Democratic Party chairmanship: ‘all politics is local’

PLAINFIELD – The local races here haven’t simply overshadowed the CD12 Congressional contest.

They’ve taken that contest, thrown it in a closet and padlocked the door.

This is local overdrive, where two city heavyweights are battling for control, and where a billboard broadcasting incumbent Councilwoman Rebecca Williams and her slate – not the names of federal hopefuls – ranges over a bustling downtown.

But while everything here arguably finally hinges on the outcome in one ward – Ward 1 specifically – the election expands outward again with statewide implications for 201.  (Pizarro/PolitickerNJ)

CD12, 2017 gubernatorial, Union County Democratic Party chairmanship: ‘all politics is local’ | Politicker NJ









Sarlo on millionaires tax: “I want to be realistic”

LITTLE FERRY – New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and U.S. Secretary for Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Shaun Donovan came to Little Ferry on Monday to jointly announce the awarding of $380 million to fund rebuilding projects in Hoboken and the Meadowlands, which were among the New Jersey communities that were devastated by Hurricane Sandy’s record surge in 2012. Minutes later, state Sen. Paul Sarlo (D-36) spoke out about another idea surging in the minds of some Democrats to deal with a financial hole that could devastate New Jersey in another way: the state’s approximately $1 billion budget hole this fiscal year. 

“I know Democrats want to hear you talk about a millionaires tax. I want to be realistic. I want to be practical,” said Sarlo, the chairman of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, in comments to the press after Christie and Donovan both made remarks. “We could talk about it, we could do it, and [Christie] could veto it. All that does is put everything on hold.”

Sarlo’s remarks came weeks after State Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) proposed the revival of the idea of a millionaires tax for the state’s wealthiest residents as a way to close to New Jersey’s burgeoning fiscal gap. Sweeney’s suggestion was amplified following Christie’s announcement last month that to deal with the budget crisis, he wants to reduce a $1.6 billion pension payment the state was scheduled to make before June 30 to $696 million by executive order and slash a $2.25 billion payment that was set for next year to $681 million, a move that the governor will seek approval for from the Democratic-controlled Legislature. Christie did not immediately offer any other alternatives to shore up the state’s fiscal shortfall.  (Bonamo/PolitickerNJ)

Sarlo on millionaires tax: “I want to be realistic” | Politicker NJ







$380 million in federal Sandy recovery funds to benefit two N.J. projects 

The federal government has committed $380 million in Superstorm Sandy recovery funds for two ambitious projects to reshape the Meadowlands, gird New Jersey’s urban Hudson River basin, and protect the region from the threat of rising tides and dangerous storms, officials said Monday in Little Ferry.

Little Ferry Mayor Mauro Raguseo, Assemblywoman Marlene Caride and Alexander D’Hooghe, drector, Center for Advanced Urbanism at MIT look at aerial renderings of the redevelopment.

Governor Christie joined U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan and Little Ferry Mayor Mauro Raguseo to announce the projects, two of six regional winners of the Rebuild by Design challenge, which was launched after the 2012 hurricane to create infrastructure, policy and environmental solutions for U.S. cities vulnerable to dramatic weather events.

“These winning proposals are truly transformative and serve as blueprints for how we can safeguard the region and make it more environmentally and economically resilient,” Donovan said. “I believe they will be models throughout this country of the way we can rebuild smarter and stronger after devastating storms.”  (O’Brien/The Record) 







Rating agency warns N.J. of possible downgrade

LITTLE FALLS — Five candidates Less than two months after lowering New Jersey’s credit rating, a Wall Street rating agency says it’s prepared to do it again.

Standard & Poor’s reviewed Governor Christie’s solutions to the state’s $1 billion budget gap and warned on Monday that another downgrade could be coming. That could mean higher borrowing costs for the state and signal further dissatisfaction with Christie’s handling of the state’s finances.

New Jersey already has one of the lowest credit ratings of any state, and now it’s struggling to fill an unexpected revenue shortfall.

In response to the $1 billion hole, Christie announced on May 20 that he will slice his planned $1.58 billion contribution to the state pension system to $696 million.

That was a solution that the rating agency apparently didn’t like. In a statement released Monday, it criticized Christie’s pension payment cuts, his revenue forecasts and his one-time budget fixes.  (Linhorst/The Record) 





Bids for U.S. Senate, Congressional Seats Top Today’s Primary Ballot

The U.S. Senate seat former Newark Mayor Cory Booker won last October tops today’s primary election, which will also determine which major party candidates will vie for all of New Jersey’s 12 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives in November.

This year’s primary is more notable than most because a quarter of the state’s members of Congress are retiring — in the case of the 1st District, Rob Andrews has already left — and in most districts, the winner of the Democratic or Republican primary winds up winning the general election. New Jersey’s districts are currently split, with half “red” and half “blue.”

Given that, probably the most watched race is for the right to represent the Democratic party on the general election ballot in Central Jersey’s 12th District. Three current state legislators are running, as well as a physicist, but the race is expected to boil down to two: Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Mercer) and Sen. Linda Greenstein (D-Middlesex).

The only nonpartisan poll, a mid-May Monmouth University Poll, had Greenstein leading Watson Coleman among likely voters by just 1 percentage point, but a third of voters were still undecided. In a blog post yesterday, Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, gave Watson Coleman a two-point edge, but added, “I won’t be the least bit surprised if this forecast turns out to be wrong.” (O’Dea/NJSpotlight) 





Feds Award $400 Million for Storm Resiliency Projects in Hoboken, Meadowlands

What will it take to make New Jersey and New York less vulnerable to future storms like Sandy? The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development hopes close to a billion dollars will help. That’s how much officials say they’ll spend on a series of large-scale flood protection projects in both states, as part of a competition by planners, environmentalists, designers, and engineers.

The purpose of the Rebuild by Design contest was to come up with regional solutions to make the area more resilient. It received more than 140 entries, ranging from the creation of a financing model to fund coastal protection in Asbury Park to a pie-in-the-sky plan to construct artificial barrier islands 10 miles off the Jersey Shore. The ideas were narrowed through two rounds of competition, and yesterday, half a dozen winners were announced, including two in New Jersey.

A proposal by a Dutch engineering team to build sea walls and other measures to protect Hoboken and parts of Weehawken and Jersey City was awarded $230 million. Another plan created by MIT in partnership with two European design firms will receive $150 million to restore wetlands in the Meadowlands and build a berm to reduce flooding in nearby communities.  (Gurian/NJSpotlight) 





Primary Election Day: Polls are open across NJ

Voters today will select the Democratic and Republican nominees for U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives as well as several county and municipal offices.

Polls close at 8 p.m. (Friedman/Star-Ledger) 






 Christie approval rating stabilizes as voters pay less attention to bridge scandal, poll finds

TRENTON — Gov. Chris Christie’s approval ratings have stopped their slide as voters take less interest in the George Washington Bridge scandal but a growing number of New Jerseyans say the state is headed in the wrong direction, a poll released today found.

The Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind poll of 813 registered voters found them split down the middle on Christie’s job performance, with both 44 percent approving and disapproving.

Although Christie’s approval rating is slightly better than the 41 percent he earned in a March PublicMind poll, the difference is within the poll’s margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points. And it’s down significantly from late 2012 and early 2013, when Christie’s approval rating — buoyed by his performance in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Sandy — peaked in the 70s.

At the same time, interest in the scandal over the September George Washington Bridge access lane closings has dropped significantly. In the new poll, 22 percent said they were paying very close attention — down from 34 percent in March. And the number of voters saying they’re following the controversy “not at all closely” rose from 18 percent to 29 percent.  (Friedman/Star-Ledger) 






From the Back Room


Today is Election Day

The polls are open until 8 p.m. across the great State of New Jersey.

PolitickerNJ reporters will be in every critical theater of engagement throughout the day and into the night bringing you up-to-date information about contests in CD3, CD12, West New York, Jersey City, Plainfield, Linden and elsewhere.

We will also be at the Statehouse reporting on the Select Committee on Investigation’s hearing this morning, where Port Authority Commissioner Pat Schuber is scheduled to testify. 

Today is Election Day | Politicker NJ

’s Bonamo appears on WNYC discussing Primary Day in NJ’s Mark Bonamo appeared on WNYC’s All Things Considered public radio program with host Amy Eddings on Monday to discuss today’s primary elections in New Jersey. 

The radio broadcast interview can be heard via this link:…’s Bonamo appears on WNYC discussing Primary Day in NJ | Politicker NJ








RIP Brian Russell

PolitickerNJ extends condolences to the family of veteran GOP political operative Chris Russell, who lost his brother late last week.

“I woke up Friday morning to the news that we lost my younger brother, Brian, in a car accident near his job in Pennsylvania,” Russell said in a Facebook post yesterday. “It still hasn’t really set in. I love him and miss him, and will cherish all of the good times we had. Keep his wife Amy, his beautiful daughter Savannah, and my parents, in your thoughts and prayers…and make sure you live every day to the fullest.”

RIP Brian Russell | Politicker NJ






Republican U.S. Senate Primary Fun Facts 

In the last couple of days, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Brian D. Goldberg released a new campaign ad, his rival Murray Sabrin picked up the endorsement of the Philadelphia Inquirer, and Monmouth-based contender Richard Pezzullo won the backing of the Bayshore Tea Party. 

Entitled “Bright Future,” Goldberg’s ad highlights the Essex businessman’s first-hand experience with the struggling economy.  

The Goldberg Youtube ad is viewable on his website 

Republican U.S. Senate Primary Fun Facts | Politicker NJ